Monday, October 13, 2014

Medley, 10/13/14

1. Tuesday evening: moonrise. A not-quite-full moon, pale and round and flat. The sky, too, is clear and pale. Peaceful. This week is busy, like so many of the rest of them, but the sky remains open and peaceful, changing and unchanging.

2. Later Tuesday evening: orchestra rehearsal, all Beethoven. The 7th Symphony, and Leonore Overture No. 3, and the Piano Concerto No. 4. I’m not sure how many times I’ve played any of these pieces, but the past performances are present, always. The piano concerto, for instance: I once got to play this with Daniel Barenboim as both soloist and conductor. The intensity and concentration of that performance, it turns out, is burned into my psyche. As we run through the piece with tonight’s soloist I can hear both the present version and the one from all those years ago. And this music is so good. 

3. Wednesday morning: I’m sitting alone in the waiting room at the dentist’s. All three kids are having checkups at once. I hear Youngest’s voice—she is singing “Let it Go” with all her heart. I imagine her face, and the way she must be moving in the dentist’s chair as she swoops for the high notes and dips for the low. “The cold never bothered me anyway—” I think she especially loves that line, and the meaning she intuits in it. The hygienist tells me later that they waited at the doorway of Youngest's  room until she finished the song. They did not want to interrupt.

4. Saturday: the last birthday cake of the season, chocolate with cream cheese frosting, sprinkled with dark chocolate curls and golden sugar. It struck me, looking at the finished cake, that the frosting works as a sealer, holding in moisture, at least as much as it sweetens and decorates. I’ve always thought of the frosting as the best part; I’ve never before thought of it as a kind of armor.

5. All week, each weekday afternoon: The Violin Project. These kids are young, and they're tired at the end of the day. It is a difficult time for intense focus. The room is often noisy. I have been trying to get them to be quieter—especially while I am tuning their violins. But this week I suggested that they use tuning time (which for them is waiting time) to help each other—second year students could help beginners with bow holds, playing positions, rhythms; older kids in general could help younger; second year kids could join forces to puzzle out new skills and pieces. The noise turned into something special. This is what I am looking for, at least as much as I am seeking order. What could happen, if we all keep learning and growing like this? 

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